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Plant City Observer Friday, Jun. 17, 2016 2 years ago

Plant City High School valedictorian and salutatorian 2016

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Madison Manley is the valedictorian, and Morgan Langston is the salutatorian.
Madison Manley

Madison Manley

Originally from Leping, China, it wasn’t Madison Manley’s goal to become the 2016 Plant City High School valedictorian. But when she realized her hard work and dedication had bumped her to the number one spot in school, it only fueled her farther. 

Manley was adopted by her parents, Hugh and Debra Manley, when she was a 1-year-old. Over 16 years later, Manley grduated with a 7.36 GPA and a set path to the University of Central Florida. There, she plans to learn about sustainable energy and apply that to an engineering major. 

Was it your goal to become valedictorian?

Not really. I think it was more about that I wanted to make the best of the opportunities around me. I know they’re not always going to be like that. 

When did you find out?

I guess I’ve known that I was up there since junior year, and it was pretty solid around senior year. 

What’s your favorite subject? 

Math. Wait no, I want to change it to social studies. 

Why did you decide to change it?

Well, I’m taking a woman studies class this year, and I think it’s really interesting to study all the things that are going around in the world, like stereotypes and how all those things affect us. 

Do you have a specific issue that interests you?

Race relations and how they affect people. Sometimes it runs so deep that it’s unconscious, and you don’t know it. I think they need to be addressed. 

What’s the biggest obstacle you have had to overcome? 

In elementary and middle school, being adopted and Asian American, it was kind of hard to see who I was and, I guess, what I was in society. In the end, you learn about yourself. 

What are your plans after graduation? 

I’m going to UCF, and I want to study sustainable energy. 

Why sustainable energy? 

I guess it started when I took an environmental science class. Then we learned about all the alternative energy sources, and I started getting interested in all the technology that is still in the making. I wish we could switch over to alternative energy immediately. 

So would you say you want to be an environmental scientist? 

Well, I kind of want to do the technology and research. Some kind of engineering. 

Do you have a 10-year-plan? 

I want to go to grad school and be very involved in doing research. 

Where do you want to eventually call home? 

I really want to live in, like, Boston or New York. 

Do you have any hobbies? 

Running, reading, writing. 

What does success mean to you?

If you feel comfortable in who you are and know what you want and are happy with it. 

If you could be any animal, what would you be?

A dog because they just sleep all day and I would love to do that.

What book has impacted your life?

“Unbroken” by Laura Hillenbrand. It’s a nonfiction book about Louie Zamperini and his story. I think it’s really amazing. It’s about in how in WWII he was captured. Going through torture, he could still heal from it. 

What do you sing in the shower? 

Right now it’s the Hamilton Broadway soundtrack. 

What’s your biggest fear?

Remaining stagnant. I think remaining in the same place and being comfortable can be dangerous. There is so much out there. 

What is on the top of your bucket list? 

To travel. I’d really like to travel to China or Asia. 

Have you traveled back to China before?

I have a little sister who is also adopted so we had to go back to get her. It was like kindergarten, first grade. 

What is your advice to other students? 

Do well in school, but also take advantage of every opportunity. Don’t do something just because it will look good, do it because you want to and you like it and it helps you grow.

Morgan Langston

Morgan Langston

Plant City High School’s 2016 salutatorian, Morgan Langston, is pursuing a career in biomedical engineering at University of South Florida. After she receives her bachelor’s degree, she plans to pursue a masters at the Georgia Tech. She graduated with a 6.998 GPA. She is the daughter of Eric and April Langston

Was it your goal to become salutatorian? 

No, it wasn’t. 

When did you find out?

They do a senior breakfast and I knew I was at the top, but they gave us a card with our rank on it. I mean, I kind of expected it because, you know, rumors go around, but last I heard I was number three and then I got my card and I was number two. 

What’s your favorite subject? 

Math. I’m just really good at it. It just comes naturally. 

What is your biggest accomplishment? 

Just balancing. I’m a competitive athlete, so balancing school and a job and volunteering with a social life is a lot.   

What sport do you play?

Soccer. I’ve been doing it for 12 years. 

Who do you play for?

I do high school league, which is only for a couple months out of the year, but I also do competitive which is all year, traveling all over Florida and sometimes out of state.

Where is the best place you’ve traveled out of state?

New York. Upstate New York. It’s so pretty there. I was 11 or 12 when we went. 

What did your parents think about you being salutatorian?

Of course they were so proud. It wasn’t really unexpected. They know how much time and work I’ve put in. It was deserving. 

What are your plans after graduation? 

I’m going to go to USF, the honors college. I want to get my degree in biomedical engineering.

Why biomedical engineering?

You can, like, work at hospitals and stuff, like, the ones I’ve heard about working on like machines or prosthetics. Or using engineering to target cancer cells. That’s more the engineering side of it. I want to help people.

Do you have a 10-year-plan? 

I definitely want to get my master’s. I’m kind of looking at Georgia Tech. I’m going to work of course.

Where do you want to eventually call home? 

I like big cities. So that’s why I want to go to Georgia Tech.

Do you have any hobbies? 

Soccer. I like to volunteer with special needs soccer. I work part time for my dad’s business. Honestly, soccer took up most of my life. It was so much.

What is your advice to other students? 

If you come from rough circumstances you still have the opportunity to succeed. 

If you could be any animal, what would you be?

I would say a lion. They’re powerful and strong. 

What is one thing you’re passionate about? 

I do feel really deeply about animals. We’ve always had like 100 dogs. Just kidding, not really. But I would say I connect with them, sometimes more than people.

What do you sing in the shower? 

Can I say Beyoncé’s new album? Honestly, yeah. 

What is the best advice anyone has ever given you?

Mr. Schism told our class to live in the moment. He’s like a legend around here.

What’s your biggest fear?

Change. Right now, thinking about college, my life is going to be drastically different. And I don’t know if I’ll be able to succeed like I did in high school.

If you could only eat one food for the rest of your life what would it be?

Shrimp Alfredo. From my grandma. She makes the best.

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